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The Flies

The Flies


by Jean-Paul Sartre

King Aegisthus Timeline and Summary

  • Aegisthus orders that Electra attend the Ceremony of the Dead. When she doesn't show, he makes plans to punish her at a later date.
  • He then decides to hold the ceremony without her. He orders his high priest to start the festivities.
  • While the crowd bemoans their lot, Aegisthus claims to spot the ghost of Agamemnon.
  • Aegisthus is outraged as Electra enters the scene in her white party dress.
  • They argue; he alludes to her accursed blood-line, since she comes from the house of Atreus.
  • He watches helplessly as Electra makes a mockery of his festival.
  • Aegisthus tries repeatedly to silence her but can do nothing. He vows to destroy her later.
  • When Zeus sends his sign to silence Electra, Aegisthus stops the angry mob of townspeople from attacking her.
  • Vengeance is his, claims the King. He chooses to banish his stepdaughter and threatens to punish anyone who attempts to help her.
  • In the throne room of the palace, Aegisthus converses with Zeus. Miserable with his life, the King reveals that he wishes to die. He refuses to prevent Orestes's would-be crime.
  • Zeus and Aegisthus discuss the difference between this murder and the murder of Agamemnon fifteen years earlier.
  • Aegisthus realizes that Zeus is after penitence, and not justice.
  • Then they discuss their respective identity crises; both men have become the images they project of themselves before their subjects.
  • They also cover the topic of freedom; Aegisthus knows that, if Orestes knows he is free, then he is a very dangerous man.
  • When Orestes moves to kill him, Aegisthus makes no attempt to defend himself.
  • Before Aegisthus dies, he curses both Electra and her brother. He then tells Orestes to "beware of the flies."
  • Aegisthus dies.